The UN Security Council (UNSC) Monday adopted a presidential statement expressing its “deep concern and dismay” over Israel’s recent approval of further construction and expansion in the West Bank. The statement reportedly comes after intense US-led negotiations that watered down the final version from a draft resolution penned by the United Arab Emirates, which would have explicitly demanded that Israel cease West Bank settlement activity.
While primarily focused on the Israeli settlements, the UNSC’s remarks also condemned “all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terrorism, and called upon all parties to clearly condemn such acts and refrain from incitement to violence.”
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a terse response to the UNSC statement, stating:
The UN Security Council has issued a one-sided statement which denies the rights of Jews to live in our historic homeland, fails to mention the Palestinian terror attacks in Jerusalem in which 10 Israeli civilians were murdered, ignores the Palestinian Authority’s grotesque pay-for-slay policy, which subsidizes the murder of Jews, and belittles the evil of antisemitism, which has resulted in the slaughter of millions.
The controversy stems from Israel’s decision to retroactively approve and expand nine “wildcat” settlements in the West Bank. Israel previously erected the settlements without authorization following an outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian violence and what the Israeli statement labelled “murderous terrorist attacks.”
The US denounced the unilateral move as undermining of a two-state solution, but has historically shielded Israel from the ire of the UNSC. News outlets, citing diplomatic sources, reported that after pressure and bargaining from the US, the Palestinian Authority agreed to drop its pursuit of a more forceful statement in exchange for financial aid and a pledge from Israel to cease authorization of new settlements.